While it is tempting for budding hoteliers to look for a safe haven like London to invest money, those willing to take more of a risk should consider Israel, as it seems that it is turning into the new hot spot. True, the country has been the subject of much unrest lately, with tensions along the Gaza Strip running high. However, experts are quietly confident that the country's tourism will not be affected.
Dov Meyer, chief executive of Toronto-based Terra Firma Capital Corp and a partner in the Hilton's Waldorf Project in Jerusalem, told Skift: "We know the tourism market in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, is very cyclical, is very sensitive to the security situation. Developing in Israel is a long-term project, you don’t make decisions on a dime, and when the market is good here it’s very, very good."
The Tourism Ministry has also announced more hotels will be built in the country, as there won't be enough space to cope with demand over the next three years. Haaretz reported that there is a projected shortfall of 10,000 rooms in 2015, with five million travellers expected to arrive in the country. This is a significant rise on the 3.5 million recorded in 2012 and indicates there will be significant property investment opportunities available for buyers.
Schmuel Zurel, director general of the Israel Hotel Association, told the newspaper: "We are seeing a positive trend - certainly a better one than the complete freeze that once prevailed in the industry. After four strong years in terms of tourist arrivals, something has to light a fire under the hotel industry."
Israel has slowly begun to build up its hotel stock over recent years, adding 3,900 new rooms between 2009 and 2012. A further 5,000 are at various stages of development, taking the number of rooms nation-wide to 47,000. This comes after a decade of little hotel construction - a symptom of the volatile and high risk environment. Nonetheless, there is a new breed of traveller - one willing to take risks to see the wonders of the world - and thus far Israel is managing to tap into this market.
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- Tuesday 12 February 2013